Camping, Backpacking & Hiking Gear

The Best Family Tents for Bad Weather in 2020

best family tents for bad weather
Bertie
Written by Bertie

When you’re camping, it’s almost impossible to predict how everything’s going to work out, and one thing that’s always unpredictable is the weather. Sudden changes can occur in a flash, so finding the best family tents for bad weather is an excellent way to be ready. This is where my Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow choice stands out — it’s awesome!

Tents that are ready to face bad weather are usually those labeled as “four-season.” Many are both UV as well as water-resistant and can withstand harsh winds. To speed up your search, we’ve gathered ten outstanding tents for you to see. 

My top best family tents for bad weather include:

Specs

It’s an eight-people, four-season tent, made with Hydra-Shield cotton canvas. The tallest point is 6.6 feet, and it measures 10 feet by 14 feet in size with a weight of 79 pounds.

The Verdict

For my best bad weather family tent choice, I couldn’t get past the Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe. It’s suitable for any occasion, whether it’s a family trip or a weekend at the hunting ground. It can comfortably house up to eight people, which is perfect for the average family of four. 

You can use it through rain and sunshine — Kodiak Canvas made the exterior using marine-grade material. It’s a custom woven canvas, treated with a silicone dry-finish, to ensure a waterproof refuge. 

The finished result is highly durable and breathable, making the tent more comfortable to stay in. The fabric allows vapors to escape, which, in turn, minimizes the chances of condensation, mugginess and high humidity. 

For those windy days, holding up the canvas are 1-inch tubing and spring steel rods. This combo keeps the tent tight and strengthens its stability in windy conditions. This would’ve been great on my last trip, where the wind nearly ruined the trip. 

Another amazing detail is the high 6.6-foot ceiling. By the door, Kodiak Canvas included an 84-inch by 78-inch awning, creating a covered protection area before you enter the spacious inside.

One must-have feature for me is additional storage space, of which this tent has plenty. Included in this is a customizable gear loft, as well as organizer pockets. 

In Summary

The Kodiak Canvas Flex-Bow Deluxe Tent is the best overall for families who want comfortable accommodation in any weather. It’s not the lightest, weighing in at 79 pounds when wrapped up, so it’s not an ideal backpacking tent. Having said that, it’s perfect for families, as it can house up to eight people. 

With weatherproof materials and a waterproof floor, you can travel during any season. There are lots of storage options, which is another essential feature when camping with children — you know how things get lost.

One con, however, is the price tag. It’s not the most budget-friendly option, but with durable materials, it’s likely to hold up for at least a few years. You may want to re-treat it once a year with a silicone seal to ensure it remains waterproof.

Specs

With a capacity of nine to 10 people, the GT Sport tent measures 8.4 by 17.39 feet and has a 6.2-foot ceiling. It consists of polyester and polyurethane with a 2,500mm waterproof coating, making it suitable as a three-season tent. It weighs a mere 26.46 pounds, making it exceptionally portable.

The Verdict

Having two rooms is a fantastic feature when traveling with children, and the Arizona GT Sport keeps it optional. Included is a detachable room divider, turning the spacious 17.39-foot tent into a two-room accommodation. 

The room divider is amazing. It includes a zipper down the middle to increase the space during the day, or as needed. Then, when you need privacy, or if someone’s a snorer — we all have one — you close it up.

I appreciate how roomy the interior feels. There are two doors and three windows that really help to open up the space during daylight hours. Around the tent are also large vents, covered with fine mesh — these allow for gentle ventilation on hot days. 

For the outer tent material, NTK Arizona utilized polyurethane laminated polyester, which is fully waterproof. The seams are heat-welded polyurethane, sealed with a UV protectant. The tent will stand up well during both the summer and rainy fall. 

There’s also no worries if you decide to camp out in mosquito-land. Running around the interior is a breathable ultra-thin polyester no-see-um mesh. This will prevent access to even the tiniest insects. 

Keeping your gear and feet safe from saturated grounds, you have a heavy-duty, anti-fungus polyethylene floor. It’s a bathtub-style construction, so you don’t have to bring along any other flooring. 

In Summary

If you choose a tent with two rooms, it’s essential that it’s spacious; otherwise, you may feel claustrophobic. Fortunately, the GT Sport Tent has a roomy interior with windows, vents and doors. This makes it the best option for a two-room family tent. 

With its weatherproof materials, it’s definitely a worthy opponent on today’s list. It’s also relatively lightweight, weighing in at 26.46 pounds — it’s a featherweight compared to the Flex-Bow. This makes it much more ideal if you’re going to travel on foot between the car park and camping ground. 

Specs

Measuring 7.6 by 8.6 feet with a 4.3-foot ceiling, the Lynx tent is suitable for four people. It weighs approximately 7.9 pounds and includes a 75D 185T polyester rain fly and floor.

The Verdict

If you’re looking for something light and easy to transport, I highly recommend the Lynx 4 tent. Although it’s not fit for the Brady Bunch, it can comfortably accommodate two adults and two children. 

It’s an excellent starter tent as it’s effortless to set up, even for a tent novice. Its freestanding design allows you to get it ready in minutes. There are only two aluminum poles to get up and then attach the rain fly for weather protection. 

On sunny days, the tent is open and airy — it features mesh windows all around, bringing in daylight and fresh air. If the weather should turn, you can cover the tent with the polyester rainfly that’s water and UV-resistant. 

The floor is durable, too — it’s a poly taffeta floor that comes with a waterproof coating. For extra protection in all the nooks and crevices, ALPS Mountaineering factory-sealed the seams all around. 

You’ll also have ample extra features, such as storage pockets, two doorways, a gear loft and sturdy zippers.

In Summary

I couldn’t find a better 4 person tent that’s spacious enough to house a family. Of course, it’s not the biggest, but there’s ample room for a round of UNO on a rainy day. 

It’s very light, one of the smallest on the list, weighing in at 7.9 pounds. It rolls up quickly and will easily fit in a bag. That’s not to mention how straightforward it is to get ready at the campsite. I must say that, for the price, you get an amazing tent. 

Specs

The Core Instant Cabin Tent can hold up to nine people. It has a tall ceiling of 6.5 feet and measures 14 by 9 feet in size. It weighs approximately 30.5 pounds and comes with a carry bag.  It easily fits a couple of queen size mattresses.

The exterior consists of 68D polyester, and the seams are heat-sealed for a watertight finish. 

The Verdict

If you want a family-sized tent that’s effortless to set up, I highly recommend the Core Instant Cabin Tent. It comes with pre-attached telescoping poles that pop easily into place, holding the tent up. The manufacturer boasts that it only takes a few steps for one person.

Although it’s easy to set up, it isn’t fragile. The 68D polyester is dense and will prevent moisture from seeping in, while also protecting you from harsh winds. For additional protection, Core sealed the seams with H2O Block Technology, keeping all the water outside.

However, for the sunny days, I suggest that you remove the outer cover and enjoy the mesh ceiling. It’s also fantastic for stargazing during a clear night. 

Besides the instant setup design, the other star feature is the advanced ventilation system. Near the floor, vents work to draw in cool air from the ground. As it circulates the tent, it presses out the warm air through the mesh ceiling. If you camp during cold months, you can close them to preserve the heat inside.

The tent opens up fully, but when you want some more privacy, you can attach the room divider.

In Summary

It’s by far one of the easiest to assemble. The system Core included makes the process effortless, and one person can easily do it alone. That, along with durable materials, makes it one of the best family tents for bad weather. 

With its roomy interior, you can fit two queen-sized air beds or nine sleeping bags. 

Specs

The Sundome measures 10 by 10 feet and has a center height of 6 feet. It’s suitable for up to six adults or a large family. 

Making up this dome tent is a durable, coated polyester fly and WeatherTech seams. It’s available in two colors — green and blue, and you can also choose between four sizes, ranging from two-person to a six-person option. 

The Verdict

Staying dry is a top priority when on a camping trip— it’s no fun waking up to water dripping on your face. The Coleman Sundome Tent includes a patented WeatherTec system, which consists of welded 1000D polyethylene floors and inverted seams. This will keep all water and moisture out. 

To make the tent comfortable in the summer, there are vents near the floor, bringing in cool ground air. The large windows reinforce this on the particularly hot days — you remove the rain fly to expose the mesh.

The interior is fantastic. There’s ample room for a family to enjoy their time without rubbing elbows. With a 6-foot ceiling, it’s also comfortable to stand. 

One of my favorite details is how easy it is to set up. It’s a snag-free, continuous pole design. Because it’s freestanding, the poles are already inserted into their sleeves and will expand the tent once you’ve found your spot. Coleman stresses that it takes less than ten minutes. 

Although it has a free-standing design, it won’t tip over in windy conditions. The Insta-Clip pole attachments can stand up against winds effortlessly. 

By now, you’re probably well aware of how much I appreciate storage space, and Coleman doesn’t disappoint me. You’ll find large pockets to keep your equipment organized. 

In Summary

All in all, we’re huge fans of Coleman, and this tent is amazing. Not only is it waterproof from the top, but the thick, bathtub-style floor ensures that your toes will stay dry. 

Besides the outstanding exterior, the interior is comfortable and spacious. With a high ceiling and large floor, you can fit up to two queen-sized air beds. 

This amazing tent is also easy on the pocket, despite all the extra features you’ll get. There are storage pockets as well as an E-port for electrical cords. And lastly, it comes with a one-year limited warranty.

Specs

The Camp Creek Tent from ALPS Mountaineering measures 7.6 by 8.6 feet and has a total height of 7 feet. It’s a 4 person tent with a total inside area of 64 square feet. And with a weight of 20 pounds, it’s relatively light. 

It has factory sealed seams, topped with a 75D 185T polyester fly, finished with a 1,500 mm coating. The floor is a thick 150D Oxford polyester, also with a 1500 mm layer. 

The Verdict

With a 7-foot ceiling, the Camp Creek Tent is one of the tallest on my list. The interior is vast, with plenty of room for a family of four. 

A significant contributor to the size of the interior is the straight walls. Because they don’t slant toward the top, you’ll gain a few extra inches all around, as well as a more even ceiling. This allows more room for cots and even a queen-sized air bed. On the inside, you’ll also have mesh pockets and a storage shelf for all your camping gear.

For when the weather turns, you can set up the weatherproof fly, which adds a large awning to the door and back window. It’s a completely waterproof tent and will direct the water downwards to the ground, instead. 

Setting up is straightforward, too. It comes with hub design and pole clips that easily attach to the fiberglass poles. Because of the lightness, it’s also a breeze to take down, wrap it up and transport back to the car. 

In Summary

If you want a tall ceiling, this might be one of the best tents to choose from — its vertical wall design increases the interior space a few inches. 

The weatherproof fly and waterproof floor will keep your family safe in almost any weather. And with its lightness, I can’t say much that’s bad about it. 

Specs

The Browning Camping Big Horn measures 10 by 15 feet and has a center height of 7.25 feet. The product weighs approximately 34.11 pounds and comes with fiberglass poles and steel uprights. 

It’s a three-season, 8-person tent and is suitable for up to eight people, with weatherproof seams to ensure dry accommodation.

The Verdict

Browning Camping describes the Big Horn Tent as a “home away from home,” and I can’t disagree with that. You’ve got loads of space to play around and even a detachable room divider.

The straight walls add a lot more interior room. It allows more space for several sleeping bags, cots and even two queen-sized air beds, with room to move around.

One of the main features is the freestanding design. Despite its large size, this little detail makes it incredibly easy to set up. It’s stable, too — even in harsh conditions, it’s able to withstand wind and rain. 

The poles and uprights are durable and won’t crack under pressure. To keep any heavy rain out, the manufacturer equipped it with factory-sealed seams on the fly and floor. 

To prevent a floppy fly, it comes with weatherproof buckles, allowing you to adjust the fit according to the weather. These are easy to use, even while you’re facing heavy winds. 

In Summary

Freestanding tents are amazing, and the Browning Camping Big Horn is the perfect example of how well they perform. Browning Camping used the best materials to ensure it won’t fly anywhere making it a really excellent tent for bad weather.

I can’t help but feel gobsmacked at just how much interior space it provides. When the weather is good, I recommend removing the fly and keep the mesh roof exposed. The tent will feel airy and even bigger. 

Finding the Best Family Tents for Bad Weather

Choosing the best tent for your family is no light task — you want to ensure everyone stays comfortable and safe. Here are some tips that may help:

  • Size and capacity.
  • Material and flooring.
  • Weight.
  • Setup time.
  • Ventilation.

Size and Capacity

Believe it or not, I find that size is often the most overlooked point when choosing a family tent. This is usually due to the words “family tent” making us automatically think it’s sufficient. Because of this, I can’t stress enough the importance of looking at the specs.

It really depends on your preferences, though. You could be a family of three who needs a two-room tent, or a family of five that could easily do with a 4 person tent. 

When debating how much room you need, consider if you’re using sleeping bags or cots, how much camping gear you’re bringing and where to place it. On top of this, consider how much privacy mom and dad or teenage kids need. 

Material and Flooring

The most common materials you’ll see are polyester and nylon, both of which are great. However, for water-resistance, I recommend quality polyester, which is what my recommended tents have. 

Avoid going for anything lower than 75D polyester for density. Took a thick a material can create a stuffing atmosphere — not ideal in summer, although ventilation can alleviate this.

For the floor, most weatherproof tents use a thick polyethylene material, which is almost like bathtub-style. This should be sufficient, but you can always use a tarp underneath, just in case.

Weight

What weight to aim for depends on how you’re traveling. Some family tents can weigh over 70 pounds, which isn’t ideal if you’re going on foot. Carrying a heavy bag can cause wear on your back. If you’re driving to your campsite, however, the weight may not be a big deal. 

You'd obviously expect a 6 person tent to be lighter than an 8-person tent.

Quick Setup Time

Regardless of whether you’re a tent newbie or a seasoned pro, we all want a tent that’s fast to set up. The best answer here is to go with a freestanding design. This is where the poles are pre-attached, so all you do is extend them, and the tent is up. Don't forget to put the guy ropes in! (The time it takes to set the guy ropes is often not included in the "setup time" as defined by the various marketing departments).

Freestanding tents are also getting more resilient to bad weather conditions. New designs allow them to withstand harsh winds and heavy rain, which is what you want on a camping trip. 

Ventilation

Although ventilation isn’t a deal-breaker for a lousy weather tent, it’s still essential to look for. Not all days are cold and windy on bad weather trips, so a tent without ventilation becomes an oven, which could lead to heatstroke

Many tents, like those from Core and ALPS Mountaineering, have begun to include specialized vent systems. They’ve included openings near the ground where cool air can enter and circulate the space. Just ensure that there’s a way to seal them for the cold days. 

Conclusion

Investing in the best family tents for bad weather is an assurance that you’ll be ready for whatever mother nature throws at you. Today’s clear winner is the Flex-Bow Tent by Kodiak Canvas — it’s four-season and incredibly durable. My runner up is the NTK Arizona GT Sport Camping Tent, which offers two rooms and outstanding weatherproofing.

During your search, make sure you consider the size you need and how much it should weigh. Then, research the materials used to ensure the tent is weatherproof — I recommend polyester. Choose one that’s easy to set up, and that can serve you through any season — features that my top choice has nailed!

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Best family tents for bad weather

About the author

Bertie

Bertie

I’m Bertie and I’ve been enjoying the wilderness for as long as I can remember. I get out camping, hiking and backpacking whenever I can. And when I can’t, I enjoy writing about outdoor-related stuff!

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